Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 15:
The Odisha government today decided to take a final call on the fate of 18 iron ore and manganese mines closed following a Supreme Court order earlier this year only after it receives replies to the show cause notices issued to the lessees.
A high level committee meeting chaired by development commissioner-cum- additional chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here however, decided to grant an express order in favour of Tata Steel,, which has been holding chromite mines at Sukinda in Jajpur district. It has however, refused working permission to the steel maker.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, director of Mines Deepak Mohanty, said: “The meeting decided to issue an express order in favour of Tata Steel, but not working permission. Since they have got stage I forest clearance, the government may seek clarification from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).”
Mohanty said the fate of 18 iron ore and manganese mines, which remained on the orders of the Supreme Court issued on May 16 this year, will be taken up after receiving replies to the show cause notices issued to them to explain why their mining leases should be renewed. The deadline for receiving replies to the show cause notices has been fixed for November 22.
Tata Steel has got temporary working permission for mining activities for one year from the MoEF, Mohanty added.
“The government had earlier issued express orders to eight iron ore and manganese mines to meet their captive requirements. In case of non-iron ore (chromite) mines, an express order will be issued on the same ground,” the director of Mines said .